Background and aims: Successful aging is a worldwide aim, but its related factors and instruments of measurement are currently hotly debated. To investigate the relationship between muscle strength and functional capacity, and its association with successful aging.
Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study was performed in Mataró (Spain). Included in the study were 313 subjects (153 men, 160 women) aged 70 years and over. Physical and cognitive functions were assessed, as well as muscle strength, nutritional status, lifestyle factors, and associated morbidities.
Results: A state of successful aging (SA), defined as optimal functional and cognitive capacities with absence of cancer, stroke, cardiovascular or pulmonary chronic diseases, was found in 20% of women and 32% of men. SA was associated with higher muscle strength in comparison with the non-SA condition. Muscle strength measurements were higher in men, and decreased with age, poor balance, decreased functional capacity, and impaired cognitive status. It was also associated with higher academic level, regular exercise, and nutritional status in both genders. Multivariate analysis showed that independent variables related to SA were: hand grip, arthrosis, deafness and unipodal balance test, but not age or gender.
Conclusions: Muscle strength is positively associated with the successful aging condition, and may be one of its functional links, reflecting the integrated health status of old men and women. The systematic inclusion of the measurement of muscle strength may be helpful in clinical evaluation of the elderly.